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James Clear
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James Clear writes at JamesClear.com, where he shares ideas for using behavior science to improve your performance and master your habits. For fresh ideas on how to live a healthy life — both mentally and physically — join his free newsletter. Or, download his 45-page guide called Transform Your Habits.

Entries by James Clear

Minimalism, Success and the Curious Writing Habit of George R.R. Martin

(0) Comments | Posted November 21, 2014 | 12:06 PM

In 1971, a young writer graduated with his masters degree in journalism from Northwestern University. He spent the first 13 years of his career writing professionally and made a living from it, but without major success. In 1983, he released his fourth book, The Armageddon Rag.

Nobody read it --...

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Threshold Theory: How Smart Do You Have to Be to Succeed?

(1) Comments | Posted November 13, 2014 | 8:11 PM

How smart do you have to be to succeed?

What about to become a creative genius? Did Picasso and Mozart use superhuman intelligence to create their masterpieces?

And similarly...

  • How intelligent do you need to be to become a successful entrepreneur?
  • How good does your training program need to be...
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'Email Is Where Keystrokes Go to Die'

(0) Comments | Posted November 12, 2014 | 10:21 AM

Scott Hanselman, a Microsoft employee and productivity expert, was speaking about effectiveness on stage. And he was ready to make a simple, but important point.

"Email is where keystrokes go to die," he said. "You have a finite number of keystrokes left in your hands before you die." [1, 2]

...
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The Theory of Cumulative Stress: How to Recover When Stress Builds Up

(5) Comments | Posted November 2, 2014 | 12:33 PM

It was my first year of graduate school and my professor was standing at the front of the room. He was telling our class about a mistake he made years before.

About a decade earlier, my professor had been one of the senior executives at Sears, Roebuck & Company, the...

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How to Uncover Your Creative Talent By Using the 'Equal Odds Rule'

(0) Comments | Posted October 29, 2014 | 4:08 PM

Paul Erdos was a strange man. He lived out of two suitcases, never learned how to cook his own meals, worked up to 19 hours per day, took amphetamines daily and washed them down with caffeine, and gave away nearly all of the money that he earned. [1]

Erdos was...

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Warren Buffett's 'Two-List' Strategy: How to Maximize Your Focus and Master Your Priorities

(0) Comments | Posted October 24, 2014 | 9:10 PM

With well over 50 billion dollars to his name, Warren Buffett is consistently ranked among the wealthiest people in the world. Out of all the investors in the 20th century, Buffett was the most successful.

Given his success, it stands to reason that Buffett has an excellent understanding of how...

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How to Build a New Habit: This Is Your Strategy Guide

(1) Comments | Posted August 27, 2014 | 9:37 AM

According to researchers at Duke University, habits account for about 40 percent of our behaviors on any given day. [1]

Understanding how to build new habits (and how your current ones work) is essential for making progress in your health, your happiness, and your life in general.

But there...

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Smart People Should Create Things

(0) Comments | Posted June 22, 2014 | 10:09 AM

It was 1974, and Art Fry was spending his weekend singing for the local church choir. On this particular Sunday, Fry was dealing with a relatively boring problem: He couldn't keep his bookmarks in place.

In order to find hymns quickly, Fry would stick little pieces of paper between the...

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How to Be More Productive and Eliminate Time-Wasting Activities by Using the 'Eisenhower Box'

(21) Comments | Posted May 26, 2014 | 10:19 AM

Dwight Eisenhower lived one of the most productive lives you can imagine. Eisenhower was the 34th president of the United States, serving two terms from 1953 to 1961. During his time in office, he launched programs that directly led to the development of the Interstate Highway System in the United...

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How to Change Your Beliefs and Stick to Your Goals for Good

(0) Comments | Posted May 12, 2014 | 7:28 PM

In one of my very first articles, I discussed a concept called identity-based habits.

The basic idea is that the beliefs you have about yourself can drive your long-term behavior. Maybe you can trick yourself into going to the gym or eating healthy once or twice, but if you don't...

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Stop Wasting Time on the Details and Commit to the Fundamentals

(2) Comments | Posted May 12, 2014 | 12:20 PM

I was in the gym one day, training like usual, when my coach made an important observation. It didn't take me long to see how this discovery applied to other areas of my life as well.

Here's what happened.

We looked across the gym and saw someone performing lateral raises...

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I'm Using These 3 Simple Steps to Actually Stick with Good Habits

(2) Comments | Posted May 2, 2014 | 9:21 AM

I have been trying a new strategy for building habits and it is working incredibly well. This strategy is remarkably easy and it is governed by three simple rules.

First I'll tell you the three rules. Then, I'll explain how I'm using this strategy and offer some other examples of...

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How to Eliminate Procrastination (The Surprising Strategy One Man Used)

(1) Comments | Posted April 22, 2014 | 4:57 PM

In 2009, Fred Stutzman was a graduate student at the University of North Carolina, and he was trying to grind out some important work on his thesis.

But there was a problem.

His favorite coffee shop, which had previously been a quiet sanctuary where he could escape distraction and get...

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Leadership at Scale (Why I Write)

(0) Comments | Posted April 21, 2014 | 3:20 PM

Every Monday and Thursday for the past 16 months, I sat down in my chair, put my hands on the keyboard, and wrote a new article. Post after post. Week after week. Over 130 articles and counting.

Why do I do this each week? What keeps pulling me back to...

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Combien de temps faut-il pour prendre une habitude (selon la science)?

(0) Comments | Posted April 14, 2014 | 4:48 PM

Maxwell Maltz était chirurgien plastique dans les années 1950 lorsqu'il s'est rendu compte d'une étrange tendance chez ses patients.

Quand le Docteur Maltz pratiquait une opération -du nez, par exemple- il constatait que le patient mettait environ 21 jours à s'habituer à son nouveau visage. De même, quand un patient...

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Combien de temps faut-il pour prendre une habitude (selon la science)?

(0) Comments | Posted April 13, 2014 | 5:02 PM

Maxwell Maltz était chirurgien plastique dans les années 1950 lorsqu'il s'est rendu compte d'une étrange tendance chez ses patients.

Quand le Docteur Maltz pratiquait une opération -du nez, par exemple- il constatait que le patient mettait environ 21 jours à s'habituer à son nouveau visage. De même, quand un patient...

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How Long Does It Actually Take to Form a New Habit? (Backed by Science)

(20) Comments | Posted April 10, 2014 | 9:45 AM

Maxwell Maltz was a plastic surgeon in the 1950s when he began noticing a strange pattern among his patients.

When Dr. Maltz would perform an operation -- like a nose job, for example -- he found that it would take the patient about 21 days to get used to seeing...

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Masters of Habit: Rituals, Lessons and Quotes From Marcus Aurelius

(2) Comments | Posted April 6, 2014 | 11:11 AM

Masters of Habit is a series of mini-biographies on the daily rituals and routines of great athletes, artists, and leaders.

Marcus Aurelius was Roman Emperor from 161 to 180. Known as the last of the "Five Good Emperors," Aurelius was not born into power, but rather was adopted (his biological...

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The Myth of Creative Inspiration: Great Artists Don't Wait for Motivation (They Do This Instead)

(0) Comments | Posted March 28, 2014 | 9:21 AM

Franz Kafka is considered one of the most creative and influential writers of the 20th century, but he actually spent most of his time working as a lawyer for the Workers Accident Insurance Institute. How did Kafka produce such fantastic creative works while holding down his day job?

By sticking...

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The Power of Imperfect Starts: How Good Do You Really Need to Be to Get Started?

(0) Comments | Posted March 19, 2014 | 3:55 PM

When you have a goal -- whether it's starting a business or eating healthier or traveling the world -- it's easy to look at someone who is already doing it and then try to reverse engineer their strategy.

In some cases, this is really useful. Learning from the experiences of...

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